Grocery shopping can be exciting when you discover all the new things you can buy like flavored chickpeas or kale. Sadly, many of the labels on packages and words you see while skimming the produce may actually be tricking you.
Knowing what words and foods to look for will help you make sure you buy the correct foods for clean eating. While buying fresh foods are always the better choice, knowing how to pick packaged foods is also important. Here are seven commonly-used sayings to check before you buy your food, whether it's fresh vegetables or fortified foods.
1. Buy Farm-raised
When buying wild fish and other meats, it may be beneficial to buy farm-raised. Farm-raised fish and animals aren't usually exposed to the toxins and chemicals found in open water and land. Not consuming these chemicals is extremely important if you want to prolong your health.Farm-raised fish are also a clean source of protein and fats. Many commercial meats and fish are processed and full of heart-clogging fats as well as carcinogenic pathogens. Salmon and other cold water fish are great options to get in your heart-healthy omega 3's. Not a salmon person? Look for lean turkey or even some vegan products while at the grocery store.
2. Go Local
3. Find Diet-Specific Foods
Gluten-free, paleo, vegan—you name it and you can find it. Grocery stores across the nation are filling their aisles with diet-friendly options. Whether you have a food allergy, an intolerance, or are simply trying out a diet just because, it's important that you purchase foods you can consume. Most foods have symbols, like the V for Vegan, that will help you buy the correct items.If you can't find the label you're looking for or are confused about what things mean, the FDA has a ton of information regarding labeling regulations to help you out.
4. Check for Organic Certified
5. Always Choose Fresh
This one may seem a bit obvious but can sometimes can slip right past people. An important part of eating clean and healthy is taking out the processed junk and adding in as many fresh foods as possible. Start in the produce aisle to steer away from filling your cart with packaged goods. With all the fresh veggies and fruit, you can make some tasty new dishes like tasty salads and salsa.
6. Read the Supplement Facts
All the mumbo jumbo on the back of labels that people tend to ignore is actually super important. These labels, or supplement facts, let you know the macros and micros needed, what the item provides, and the ingredients.
Choosing items that meet your dietary needs or contain higher amounts of the good stuff, like vitamins and minerals, is something to keep in mind when reading these facts. Also, make sure you check the ingredients for anything you know you need to steer clear of.
7. Avoid "Low" Anything
We've all thought to ourselves at least once that choosing the fat-free ice cream, or reduced-fat peanut butter was the better choice. But sadly, we are all wrong. When companies remove the original fat or sugar in a product, they usually replace it with more salt, sugar, and artificial chemicals to aid the flavor. Most people also assume that because it is "low" they are able to eat more of it and then end up over consuming calories.
Skip the "low" stuff and go for the original product, or better yet skip it all together if it's overly processed. Know quantity control and how much to eat if it doesn't make your body feel good.
All in all, shopping for a healthy diet really isn't that difficult. Spend more time buying fresh produce, whether it's at a supermarket or at the farmers market, and read labels carefully.